Good afternoon, fellow bookworms!
SURPRISE! I overshot my goal of getting to the 75% mark of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens and ended up finishing the full novel at the end of June. I just got captured by the language and the characters and the plot. I had to see how it all came together in the end!
Today I’m posting a short response to the second half of the novel. Then I plan to write a full novel review sometime later this month. See my posts of part 1 and part 2 for more of my reactions to this classic.
- This book just builds in suspense and intensity. The way Dickens brings together the various characters in surprising and serious ways is just genius. Such a fun journey to find all the connections!
- Like when I finished to Les Miserables last year, I switched to my hard copy of the novel so I could finish it in print. I guess because with both of this long classics, I have read the last 10% or so in one sitting, my eyes can’t take the Kindle app for so long. Kindle is better in shorter spurts for me.
- Started the BBC miniseries on AMAZON PRIME last night (super excited to discover it there!) and I have hooked my husband on the story 🙂
In the second half of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, the disconnected characters show how they fit together as the Dorrit family seeks to establish themselves among the English elite classes, Arthur Clennam makes an unwise investment, the Man of the Age is revealed to be a scoundrel, and the mysterious Blandois finally makes his move. How will the fates of Little Dorrit, Arthur Clennam and the rest of Dickens’ colorful characters intertwine as the book ends?
I loved every section that described the Dorrit family and their travels abroad. It was so fascinating to see their personalities in starkly different circumstances. I loved that Amy stayed true to her humble, kind self. But it was sad to see how her father’s personality fit into the new situation for them. Fanny was fascinating to watch as she marries for power and control but is still ultimately unhappy. The ending for the Dorrits is both tragic and satisfying.
The most difficult parts of this half of the book to read were those discussing the Barnacles, Mr Merdle’s enterprises and politics in general. They were just slower and not as plot driven. I really admire Dickens’ skill at interweaving politics into his narrative (and in such clever, witty ways!) but I had a hard time getting into those sections. The Barnacles are dry, boring people. And the passages about them are true to their character. I appreciate that they do not overpower the main plot and that, if you are reading closely, you can catch some of Dickens’ humorous jabs at the Barnacles. Power through those sections to get to the more exciting plots!
The characters make this novel a classic worth reading. I love Amy for her innocence and simplicity which is steadfast throughout her experiences. I loved Arthur for his honor and duty (but also wished he would let a few things go!). Flora is absolutely hilarious throughout. Love Pancks for his straightforward and blunt ways. He makes me laugh. Blandois is not a character I love but a character I find fascinating in his mystery and villainy. Similarly, I find the brothers William and Frederick Dorrit fascinating for their pride, dependence, and fear.
Themes I am enjoying/pondering:
- Prisons–both physical and mental. How are they created? What is the relationship between the prison in ones mind and a physical prison? Which is more confining?
- How is a reputation created, maintained, and/or changed?
- What is reality? How do we define what reality is?
- How does one discover truth? Is it important to know “the full truth”? Is it even possible to understand “the full truth”?
- What is the role of God in the way one interacts with others? How does He punish people for their sins or misdeeds?
I can’t wait to delve a bit deeper into some of my favorite aspects of the novel. Until then, I’ll be enjoying the BBC adaptation 🙂